2005-2007 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan Minivans
For 2005, the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country gained industry-first “stow and go” seats that folded flat into the floor. Buyers could now convert their plush passenger vans into cargo vans in around five minutes. It was a stunning feature that remains a hallmark of Chrysler minivans, though it was only available on long wheelbase models.
Both V6 engines were upgraded; the 3.3 went to 180 horsepower with 210 lb-ft of torque, while the 3.8 went to 215 horsepower (in 2006, it dropped to 207), with 245 lb-ft of torque. Gas mileage also increased to 19/26 for the 3.3, 18/25 for the 3.8 (in 2008-equivalent numbers this is 17/24 and 16/23). The result was temporary leadership in minivan engines.
Export minivans had a new VM 2.8 CRD engine which delivered 110 Kw (150 hp) at 3,800 rpm and torque of 360 Nm (266 lb.-ft.) at just 2,100 rpm. The new engine used less than 9 liters of fuel per 100 km, meeting or beating competitors, and now had an automatic transmission option.
In 2009, J.D. Power rated the 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan as the most reliable minivan in America, giving it a higher reliability score than any other full or midsized van. This test covered three full years. TrueDelta later found that the 2006s weren’t quite that reliable as the years passed.
Stow ’n’ Go seats were only sold in long wheelbase vans; and the middle row was foldable only after the front seats were moved all the way forward (a nuisance with electric seats), and the headrests lowered all the way; even then it was a tight fit. Rear seats were easier, involving pulling three straps (with numbers clearly marked), but still required the headrests to be lowered.
Cargo nets were integrated into the storage bins; new cushions; fore-aft adjusters and reclining seat backs were added to the second row seats; the rearmost seats were split-benches and reclined.
Safety moved forward with optional three-row side curtain airbags, driver-side knee-blocker airbags, multistage front airbags, automatic deactivation of the passenger side airbag depending on the occupant’s weight, federally-mandated LATCH system car seat anchors in both rear rows, an optional rear obstacle detection system, and optional hazard-flasher operations when the sliding doors were used.
Options included a moveable / removable overhead rail system with storage bins, DVD screen, and rear temperature controls; UConnect; and navigation system.
For 2006, the second-row storage bin covers had a tri-fold access panel for easier access to the storage; now, one did not have to move the front seat all the way forward to get into the bin (though one still had to do so, to fold the seat in).
The down-side of the 2005s was the cost-cutting binge, which resulted in the loss of windshield-wiper de-icers and backlighting for the headlight switch panel and door switches.
Noise and vibration reduction
By combining computer simulations with testing in Chrysler'’s state-of-the-art Auburn Hills wind tunnel and on four-post shakers, engineers quieted their minivans by 16%. Some changes were:
- Robotically applied liquid spray dampeners to stop noise, applied to the floor, toe-pan, cowl, and roof panel.
- Expandable polyurethane foam injected into cavities.
- A revised underbody structure for high bending and torsional stiffness, isolating suspension vibration and chatter.
- A fluid-filled hydro engine mount reduced engine vibration into the front rails.
- Suspension control arms used tuned hydro bushings to reduce suspension vibration.
- Second-row foam seating technology was tuned to dampen vibration.
- More precisely sized folding seats and covers prevented squeaks and rattles.
- Wind noise was cut with triple door seals, molded gaskets, aerodynamically configured roof rack cross bows, and a spiraled antenna.
- Diesel models had new silencers.
2007 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan changes
Changes to Dodge Caravan or Chrysler Town & Country for 2007, their last year before redesigned models appeared, included changes to standard features and option packages. The driver-side inflatable knee blocker was standard on all models, a sliding Door Alert System was added, and:
- 3.3L flexible fuel V6 (E85 compatible); 45 States - Optional on Grand Caravan SE
( 180 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 210 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm on gasoline)
- UConnect® Hands-Free Communication System - Optional on all models
- New colors: Marine Blue Pearl and
Modern Blue Pearl
A new SAE standardization that affected all automakers dropped the 3.3 down to 170 hp, and the 3.8L to 200 hp. Other manufacturers saw similar or more severe drops. Further, the American Chrysler Voyager — essentially the Plymouth Voyager with the Chrysler label — was finally put to death, after lingering on with minimal sales for years.
Interior of 2005 Chrysler Town & Country
- Sycamore wood was used in the center stack bezel of top models, with satin silver accents; the wood and silver continued through the cabin.
- Chromed Chrysler badging with a Chrysler seal was integrated into steering wheel horn pad. The low-end Touring trim had a satin silver appearance on the center stack bezel.
- The Chrysler winged badge extended for the width of the grille
- New dual headlamps and a new front fascia included a molded-in license plate pocket, circular fog lamps, and chromed fascia inserts; a bright roof rack and new cladding with chromed inserts were used to enhance the side view (except on Touring)
- A new rear fascia had chromed inserts (except on Touring) with four integrated sensors for rear park assist when that was purchased
- Chromed Dodge badging was used in the steering wheel horn pad; SE had a mechanical-grained appearance on the center stack bezel, while SXT had a new carbon-weave design there. It too had a new front fascia with a molded-in license plate pocket and new fog lamps, with machined body-side moldings with chromed inserts.
Dodge Caravan, Grand Caravan, and Chrysler Town & Country were built in Windsor, Ontario; St. Louis, Missouri; and, briefly, Chrysler Voyager was built in Graz, Austria.
- The Advanced Multistage Air Bag System increased protection for a greater range of occupants at various levels based on the severity of a crash
- Anti-lock brakes
- Constant Force Retractors were engineered to force-limit the belt system and gradually release seat belt webbing in a controlled manner during a severe impact
- Enhanced Accident Response System turned on the interior lighting and unlocked the doors after air bag deployment
- Energy-Absorbing Steering Column used release capsules, which allowed the column to move forward for energy absorption during a crash; it also had metal bend straps which deformed in a controlled way, in a crash, and a built in joint which limited the force of the chest-to-steering-wheel impact.
- Two sensors measured the severity of the impact for optimal deployment of the air bags and seat belt pretensioners
- The knee blocker increased leg protection in an impact and helped to position the driver relative to the air bag
- Hazard flashers went on when power sliding doors were in operation as a warning to passing cars
- Occupant Classification System measured conditions for activation or deactivation of the passenger-side air bag, based upon the weight of the occupant
- During a collision, the front seat belt pretensioners electronically sensed a crash and immediately removed slack from the seat belts, reducing the forward movement of the occupant’s upper body
- Three-row side curtain air bags provided full-length coverage for all three rows of seats.
- Mopar sold side mirrors with integrated turn signals.